By Anga Bushwana
On 8 March, emotions were high at Foley’s Ground hall in Hlalani as about 120 residents voiced their concerns and grievances about potholes, the water and sewage crisis, and the high unemployment rate.
The meeting was part of the Makana municipality’s four-week set of Integrated Development Planning (IDP) meetings with communities. The IDP meetings take place every year in all 13 wards of the municipality.
Resident Phumla Joja said the potholes have derailed ambulance services in Hlalani. “My mom is 95 years old, and whenever she is sick, I have to carry her out of the area first to meet an ambulance halfway, as no ambulance wants to enter the area because of the potholes. We are not cared for,” said Joja.
Joja added that the area has recently been renamed “Marikana” because of their ongoing struggles with water that floods the potholes.
Another resident who identified himself as Phakamile, suggested that given the water crisis in Makhanda, the municipality should create a water line from the Fairview spring to the town because the spring always has water.
Makana council speaker and ANC councillor, Mthuthuzeli Mabhuti Matyumza told the meeting that Makhanda needs 20 megalitres of water a day to supply all residents. Until the upgrade of the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works is complete, water-shedding would continue because only 10 megalitres was available daily, Matyumza said.
During the meeting, Matyumza also promised the residents more job opportunities. Hlalani resident Thembinkosi Shakes Nxawe said it brought him great joy to hear this. Nxawe said the municipality must notify all residents when job opportunities arose because they desperately want to work and provide for themselves and their families.
Though there was criticism of the municipality, some residents said they were still optimistic and that they had faith in their municipality and councillors, despite their many disappointments. “When we criticize, we should also give credit where it’s due,” said Phakamile, praising the municipality’s clean-up project near the local clinic.